In the Meadows: Recent Sculpture, Drawings and Prints of James Surls
The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University will present In the Meadows: Recent Sculpture, Drawings and Prints of James Surls from January 24–April 20, 2003.
The exhibition will showcase more than 50 works executed within the past several years by Surls, an internationally renowned Texas artist best known for his dramatic large-scale sculptures. Eighteen such pieces, ranging from 4 to 28 feet high, will be among the works featured, most of them created especially for the Meadows Museum exhibition. Also included will be 15 smaller maquettes, two wall-sized installation drawings and approximately 20 additional prints and drawings, several of which are preparatory sketches for his sculptures. The works will be displayed both inside the museum and outdoors on the museum plaza.
Working primarily in wood and steel, Surls creates colossal pieces incorporating images of flowers, needles, houses, diamonds, knives and eyes. His works symbolize the many forces of nature—male and female, vertical and horizontal, open and closed, rough and smooth, active and passive.
Three public lectures and a Family Day event will be held at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition. James Surls will present a gallery talk on his work at 12:15 p.m. on the exhibition’s opening day, Friday, Jan. 24, and a lecture titled “Art: The Search for Self” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30. Ted Pillsbury, CEO of Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art in Dallas and former director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, will give a gallery talk at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 4, examining Surls’ work in a historical and artistic context and highlighting the artist’s contributions to the genre of modern sculpture.
On Sunday, Apr. 6, from 1-4 p.m., the museum will host a Family Day with live entertainment, storytelling, sketching in the galleries, studio art activities and docent-guided tours. A highlight of Family Day will be a dance performance incorporating Surls’ large outdoor sculpture, presented by students at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The lectures and Family Day are FREE and open to the public.
James Surls was born in Terrell, Texas in 1943. He received a B.S. from Sam Houston State College in Huntsville, Texas and an M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He taught sculpture at Southern Methodist University from 1970–1975, then moved to Houston and taught at the University of Houston until 1982. For many years, he maintained a home and studio in Splendora, north of Houston; in 1997 he moved to Basalt, Colorado. Surls has exhibited in both national and international solo and group exhibitions. His works are included in collections of major museums across the U.S., including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of Art in New York; The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth; The Museum of Fine Art in Houston; and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others.
In the Meadows concludes the museum’s year-long “Celebration of Sculpture,” which included an exhibition of silver sculptures from Mexico, Jun. 30–Aug. 25, 2002, and a show of sculpture and drawings by James W. Sullivan, Sept. 15–Dec. 8, 2002. “Celebration of Sculpture” is made possible in part by a gift from The Meadows Foundation. The Meadows Museum will publish a retrospective of James Surls’ life and work in spring 2003. The book will include an interview with the artist by Dr. P. Gregory Warden, interim director of the Meadows Museum, and images of the In the Meadows exhibition.